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Suppressing car ownership with car free’ zones doesn’t work

PUBLISHED: 20:35 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 05 October 2010

From George Galloway, MP: Dear Ed, I HAVE been inundated by constituents suffering the ironically-dubbed car free’ developments by Tower Hamlets Council. The attempt to suppress car ownership through these developments just does not work

From George Galloway, MP

Dear Ed,

I HAVE been inundated with tales of woe from constituents suffering the ironically-dubbed 'car free' developments by Tower Hamlets Council.

The attempt to suppress car ownership through these developments just does not work. Canny residents with friends living at addresses which qualify for parking permits reregister their cars at those addresses, easily evading the restrictions.

Like prohibition, if people need cars and need to park them, one way or another they will do it.

But how does this attempt to suppress car ownership cohere with the Government's earnest attempts to increase car purchase?

But worse than this, these developments usually build in facilities for off-street car parking on the estate or in underground car parks. So 'car free' developments are not car free at all!

Owners who need cars and want to park them on the estate or in the underground car parks are at the mercy of exorbitant rates charged by the housing associations which own or run that estates. So it turns out 'car free' developments are just a way for housing associations to make money out of their residents.

East Thames Housing association, for example, introduced a charge on one of its estates just five months ago which works out at £520 a year, six times the fee Tower Hamlets council levies for residents to park in the street.

The council has made a monumental error in introducing these 'car free' developments. They discriminate against all those who need cars, whether it is larger families or those dependent on cars for their work, like cabbies and minicab drivers, and against those who simply wish to exercise their right to own a car.

But they also discriminate in favour of the rich against those who are less well-off, as the rich can afford the crazy charges being levied whereas the less well-off cannot.

They also appear to do virtually nothing for the environment.

The least the council should do now is make urgent application to the Government to make the necessary amendments to the law so these iniquities can be removed from the residents.

George Galloway, MP

House of Commons, Westminster


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